In Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar,” a soothsayer warns Caesar of impending treachery declaring, “Beware the Ides of March.” Lincoln’s assassination by the treacherous hands of John Wilkes Booth was proceeded by similar warnings. The warnings were so numerous throughout his entire presidency that, to modern observers, it is easy to dismiss them as idle threats. Moreover, several recent studies argue that Lincoln did not take the death threats very seriously and that his personal secretaries did not show him the offending letters, even destroying them upon receipt.

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